Category Archives: Elections

Federal Election Commission Launches E-Mail Update Service

Source: Federal Election Commission

From the press release:
…automated email updates for a variety of campaign finance information. The new service will allow users to sign-up to receive notification whenever information important to them is added or changed on the Commission’s site…With a single click, users can now register to receive updates for one or more specific pages at including news releases, support for committee treasurers, updates on Commission decisions, etc. The system allows people to keep track of FEC actions in real time without receiving unwanted email about subjects not directly of interest.
Some RSS is also available.

Race, God, and Guns: Union Voting in the 2004 Presidential Election

Source: Donald W. Beachler, WorkingUSA, Vol. 10 no. 3, September 2007
(subscription required)

The conservative political preferences of many working class Americans have been the subject of much academic and popular analysis in recent years. This article investigates the voting behavior of union household residents in the 2004 presidential election. The source for this information is national and state exit polls from the 2004 election. There has been much debate about whether white working class support of Republicans is rooted in conservative cultural values. Despite ardent opposition by the Bush administration to the goals of organized labor, 46 percent of white voters who resided in union households voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election. The impact of race, religion, and gun ownership on the voting choice of labor households is investigated in an effort to provide an understanding of conservative voting by so many households affiliated with an interest group that is at odds with the Republicans.

Post-Election Audits: Restoring Trust In Elections

Source: Lawrence Norden, Aaron Burstein, Joseph Lorenzo Hall
and Margaret Chen, Samuelson Law, Technology, & Public Policy Clinic/Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law, 2007

From press release:
The Samuelson Clinic has co-authored with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law the first comprehensive review of state laws and academic research on audits designed to check the integrity of electronic voting systems.

The report, “Post Elections Audits: Restoring Trust in Elections,” finds that most states are not doing enough to use post-election audits of paper trails to ensure that electronic voting is secure and accurate. Taking account of the wide variations in the organization of election jurisdictions around the country, “Restoring Trust in Elections” outlines goals and methods for conducting cost-effective, rigorous audits that will help guard against programming errors as well as malicious attacks against electronic voting systems.

See also:
Clinic’s Electronic Voting Research Helps To Advance Election Integrity
Legal Issues Facing Election Officials in an Electronic-Voting World

EAC Issues Poll Worker Best Practices

Source: U.S. Election Assistance Commission, August 2007

From news release:
The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has released two best practices guidebooks to help election officials recruit, train, and retain poll workers. The two guidebooks are: “Successful Practices for Poll Worker Recruitment, Training and Retention” and “A Guidebook for Recruiting College Poll Workers.”

“Elections are becoming more complicated because of new federal and state laws, new procedures and new technical and security requirements for voting equipment,” said EAC Chair Donetta Davidson. “The need for trained poll workers is more urgent than ever, and we hope these guidebooks will help election officials find and keep good poll workers as well as recruit a new generation of poll workers.”

The guidebooks entailed a fifteen month development process involving two working groups and dozens of interviews and focus groups with election officials, voters and veteran poll workers. Draft versions of each guidebook were field-tested at six sites during the 2006 elections. The guidebooks were reviewed by the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors during a virtual public meeting last month.

See also:
Compendium of State Poll Worker Requirements

Wrong-Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral College Votes

Source: Monideepa Talukdar, Rob Richie, and Ryan O’Donnell, FairVote,
August 9, 2007

From abstract:
This paper analyzes two of the three major options available to state leaders interested in taking action to reform how their state allocates its Electoral College votes: the whole number proportional and congressional district systems. It evaluates them on the basis of whether they promote majority rule, make elections more nationally competitive, reduce incentives for partisan machinations, and make all votes count equally. We use vote returns from a number of previous elections to analyze what the outcomes would have been if Electoral College votes had been allocated according to the whole number proportional and the congressional district systems.

Our analysis reveals that both of these methods fail to meet our criteria. Neither reform option promotes majority rule, greater competitiveness, or voter equality. Pursued at a state level, both reforms dramatically increase incentives for partisan machinations. If done nationally, the congressional district system has a sharp partisan tilt toward the Republican Party. The whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of contingent elections (the selection of president by Congress).

Printable Maps: 110th Congressional Districts Boundaries Maps

Source: National Atlas

The National Atlas prepared simple maps of each District of the 110th Congress (January 2005-January 2007). These maps of the individual districts cover half of an 8.5- by 11-inch paper when printed. Designed for easy reference, they show the Congressional District overlaid on top of State and county boundaries along with interstate and US highways, selected streams and waterbodies, and major cities. The maps were created for use on the World Wide Web but print well using your home or office printer.

Independent Expenditures: A Hidden Force in State Elections

Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics, August 1, 2007

From press release:
Political expenditures made from outside official campaigns amounted to more than $115 million in just five states, a new study found, evidence of how powerful so-called independent expenditures are becoming in state politics. Compiling a comprehensive total of such expenditures for all 50 states is virtually impossible, a companion report notes, because of inadequate reporting requirements in most states.

While 39 states require some form of disclosure for individuals or groups making these expenditures in state elections, only Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine and Washington disclose the information in a way that the public can easily access and use, the National Institute on Money in State Politics discovered.

The first report, “Independent Expenditures, 2006” investigates spending on independent expenditures in the five states where data was readily obtainable, while “Indecent Disclosure” discusses problems with obtaining meaningful data on independent expenditures from the various state disclosure agencies. Taken together, the reports reveal the extensive impact of independent expenditures on the political process and the patchwork nature of disclosure laws regulating independent expenditures in the states.

How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006

Source: Kathryn Clabby, OMB Watch, August 2007

From press release:
OMB Watch today released a new report on the role of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations in elections. How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006 clearly illustrates that the work of nonprofits is critical in increasing civic participation throughout the country and fostering vibrant, engaged communities. The report focuses solely on so-called 501(c)(3) organizations and does not cover the activities of special interest associations or 527 political committees.

Though 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from taking sides in elections, they are allowed educate voters, register people to vote and work to increase voter turnout. The report describes nonprofits’ electoral engagement during the 2006 election season and the groups’ preparations for upcoming elections. The publication highlights how the nonpartisan groups are defending voters’ rights against suppression and intimidation, and it includes an analysis of new voter ID requirements and attempts to limit voter registration drives. The report also describes how nonprofits are working to protect the integrity of our elections and surveys voter engagement and mobilization efforts.